Can your child sit still?
A simple, inexpensive purchase, and suddenly my 3-year-old could sit still – a bit!
Daddy came home at the end of last term after fetching Luke from school and said: 'Teacher Jenny says Luke has a problem with his concentration and can't build puzzles.'

Any parents natural reaction is – well there's nothing wrong with my child! As a mother you can think of a million excuses why he can't build puzzles – such as maybe he just doesn't like the type of puzzles she has at school or maybe he just doesn't like building puzzles - I don't.

Regardless of the reason, being able to build puzzles is a necessary part of development and something they just have to learn how to do.

Teacher Jenny also asked if Luke watches a lot of television as that can also be a contributing factor to the short attention span issue. Now in my house, the TB (as Luke so fondly calls it) is on all the time. If not with Shrek or Cars or Flushed Away showing (to name but a few of the many DVDs in my cupboard), then it's Barney or Wiggles or In the Night Garden.

With Luke being such an active little child, he'll spend sometime dancing, singing and mouthing the words or he runs around and plays while giving the TV an occasional glance. So it's not like he sits on the couch all day and just stares into nothing – very much the opposite in fact. We really didn't think the TV was an issue but when you think about it, it is a constant distraction.

So after discussing it, Daddy and I went shopping that night and bought Luke and Amy a stunning little table and chairs set. The whole lot only cost us R240 and it was money well spent. Now they have their own space to colour, eat, play with play dough, read and torment one another. And then it was off to buy a few puzzles.

The following night, we sat him down, switched off the TB (much to his dismay) and said it was puzzle building time. It took a little while but now he’ll come up to me and say 'build bird puzzle now please, Mommy' and he'll happily and quite confidently build the 4 and 5 piece puzzles. With new puzzles he's been given as gifts and sitting with him every day, we're slowly but surely working on the attention span issue.

But I can say that having a dedicated space that is his and having Mommy and Daddy's undivided attention for that time, has done him the world of good and the improvements are clearly visible.

How well does your preschooler concentrate? And what’s worked for you?

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